T Nation

Eating Fat to Lose Fat

I was asked to post this for someone who’s having computer problems:

I have a friend who’s having a difficult time understanding how eating more fat actually aids/assists/helps in the fat burning process. She’s fairly lean to begin with but needs the fat as she hasn’t been taking ANY in. I’ve explained the basics but it’s just hard to get someone new to understand why more fat is better (proper fats that is).

How do you go about explaining this to a relatively new client/person.
Thanks for any thoughts/comments that you may have.

I think that one of the first things you do is to make it clear in their mind the differences between good fat and bad fat. Someone should come up with another word for “good fat” so the “fat” stigma isnt carried around blindly.

Then, perhaps, slap them until they start listening to you and following your every word.

I’ve always tried to use the comparison of wealthy people, or just money in general. You have to earn money to spend it. You have to take in fat to use up the fat ya got. That usually gets the ball rolling a little bit but some people just refuse to believe it.

The book “Eat, Fat, Lose Weight” does a very good job of explaining this concept. You can check out the reviews and purchase the book on Amazon.com:

I can talk from the perspective of that person, as I was brainwashed for years with the lo-fat diets and products but were full of carbs, which they never talked about. For me, it it came down to “seeing is believing”…I saw people that were at a certain weight and then a couple of months later, they had lost a ton. After seeing results so quickly, I knew what they were doing (eating some fat and reducing carbs) was for real and that is what it took for me to be a believer. Maybe if she can be led to people that have these “before/after” type of results and have a diet/food log to go over with her, it may help.

although i would be one to slap some sense into someone who doesn’t want to get it, i guess the verbal route is best first.

i think it’s very important to make that distinction between good fats and bad fats. how fats are not only essential, but contribute greatly to the functioning of a healthy body. in this case, you may wish to reference anything on t-mag (especially articles written by John Berardi), the above mentioned book, or Udo Erasmus’ “fats that heal, fats that kill”. your friend will have the reason and the science behind why good fats are called good fats and vice versa for bad fats.

as for trying to convince your friend regarding certain fats as a fat burning tool (which sounds inherently contradictory) you may want to break out a little biochem and show how EPA and DHA modify metabolism so that you can increase your capacity to eliminate fat on your body. furthermore, you yourself and many t-men/vixens are probably very good examples of how proper fat supplementation in the diet leads inevitably towards better adipose tissue management and metabolism.

and if that doesn’t work, refer to slapping your friend silly until he/she takes her flaxseed oil.

Most of us on T-Mag are aware of the many health benefits of good fat; i.e., our EFAs. However, for the uninitiated, logic is, eating fat will make you fat and the heck with any health benefits!

So I’ll skip the whole health argument for a simpler one. When you first start a diet, the body quite willingly gives up stored body fat. But since fat is essential to life and since the body has no way of knowing when the perceived “famine” will end, the body becomes more unwilling to give up fat and looks for alternative energy sources – the most readily available being muscle protein!!!

So now your friend is in a state that body fat is not being lost, muscle is being lost, and metabolic rate has dropped. Heaven forbid your friend goes back to eating normally. She’ll see tremendous rebound fat gain.

Bottom line, you have to eat fat to lose fat.

Thanks for putting that up Terry.

It seems as though so many people that I talk with still don’t understand what good fats can do for you. And then they have to learn which fats are the ones that should be consumed most frequently. It’s really hard if you don’t have a good base of knowledge to begin with.

Remember when bagels were thought to be “good” for you? Now they are practically taboo for many of us.

Perhaps by reminding them that every cell in your body has a cell membrane made up in part of fat (phospholipid bi-layer). By pointing out the benefits of omega 3s and that even the american heart association recommends that people increase omega 3s to help prevent heart disease: www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3006581
and by pointing out the dangers of bad carbos.

This is a very difficult thing. I remember way back before low-carb was the thing to do I was doing a high-protein high carb diet and weight training. I was starting to get into it and did some research on the web (the web was fledgling at this point but there was still info out there). I was mostly looking at diets and I came across an article called the “High Fat Diet” by Jeffrey Krabbe. It was basically the Anabolic Diet; Super-high fat, moderate protein with carb-ups on the weekend. I was in shock when I read this and because it flew in the face of everything I knew at that point, I was revolted by the entire idea. It was like religion; its almost impossible to see the other side until you really start looking at it and you forcefully open your mind. It took me about 4-5 months of doing research on this kind of diet for it to start to sink in that this wasn’t REALLY BAD FOR YOU.

Its really just a counter intuitive thing really. I think I was so indoctrinated on the low-fat angle that I just couldn’t accept it. The way I got around it was to read about it over and over and from a variety of angles until it started to make some sense.

Have you tried the “Zone” angle yet? There is the “iso-caloric” diet that Dan Duchaine wrote about in “BodyOpus” which was basically equal macronutrients across protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Have you tried explaining the diets of ancient man, before agriculture?

Overall I think you are dealing with a “religious” issue here. That is clearly going to be a tough thing; I guess just keep after it and hope the mind opens up.

TT, when im trying to convince someone of something and they arent buying it, i just print out the old t-mag articles and let them read it for themselves. for some reason it is always more impressive when someone has written about it.

I think that if you start to talk about good fats and bad fats with someone who has no background, their eyes are going to start to glaze over. Besides, that’s probably not what they want to know. They’re worried about the whole semantic thing: “But it’s FAT!!!”

Here’s what I do:

First, explain that the body has a heirarchy of what it uses for energy. That heirarchy is, in order, carbs, fat, protein.

Now, this is a very easy concept to understand. And once they understand it, it’s also very easy to move on to Step Two, which is: if the body has carbs to work with, it’s not going to use fat (ANY fat) for its energy source. This is also easy to understand and accept.

Once they’ve gotten that far, you can drive the final nail into the coffin. “Therefore, in order to lose fat you have to deprive the body of carbs, NOT fat.”

See? Simple, easy, effective.

That’ll be fifty dollars. :wink:

Thanks for the thoughts/replies here. Starting with the very basics (Char-Dawg) is a basic/simple way for most “newbies”.
After this is understood, then you can get into the healthy fat and ratio issue.